REDMOND, OR -- School districts across the state are evaluating enrollment numbers in preparation for new students who want to attend class outside of their neighborhood school. Redmond Superintendent Mike McIntosh tells KBND, "Now the law says districts only have one choice, and that is to accept or not. If you choose to accept, you take em all. And there’s no ability as a district to close the doors and keep them in. So, in other words, if a student wanted to leave my district, that’s a wide open arrangement. So then, their job is to find a district that will take them. But, there’s no discrimination about those kids, if you take one, you take them all." However, McIntosh says districts can put a cap on the number of transfer students accepted. "Part of the law established the ability to set capacities. So, later this month, I’ll take to the school board a spreadsheet that has the capacities of those available seats by grade level, by school, in my district." He says each Redmond school ends up with anywhere from 2 to 10 openings in each grade at each school for open enrollment students.
McIntosh says transportation is often the biggest problem for families, as districts are only required to provide bussing for students attending neighborhood schools. "If you are an open enrollment student, I can’t get you there, necessarily. That’s one of the considerations parents have to make when they make that choice is, can they get their child to and from school. That’s unfortunate, but I can’t have a big enough fleet to get all these singleton people to and from places." This is now the fourth year the state has allowed open enrollment, and McIntosh says his district has developed a pretty smooth process. Visit the district's website for more details on transfer requests and to download necessary forms. Open enrollment applications are accepted throughout the month of March, and decisions are made by mid-April.
To listen to our full conversation with Redmond Superintendent Mike McIntosh, visit our Podcast page.